The Legend Lives On
The only dog ever to be officially enlisted in the Royal Navy was a Great Dane called “Just Nuisance” who served at HMS Afrikander, a Royal Navy shore establishment in Simon’s Town, between 1939 and 1944. When he died in 1944 he was buried with full military honours.
The life and story of the much-loved Great Dane, Just Nuisance, became so much a part of Simon’s Town that a statue of him now stands in Jubilee Square in his memory. The Simon’s Town Museum also holds in its collection all Just Nuisances photographs, official papers and his collar on display. The Museum also has a slide show giving the story of this famous dog which is shown daily to children and tourists from all over the world.
Just Nuisance would follow his sailor buddies around the base and dockyard and even on board to the gang plank of HMS Neptune, which was his favourite spot. He often rode the train with his buddies and became well-known on the trains as he jumped on and off at different stations. Apparently, the sailors would try to hide him from the Ticket collector, but being such a big dog, this was not always possible and he would be put off at the next station however, being a very clever dog, he would walk back to the previous station or just wait where he was “unloaded” and board the next train to continue his journey. This resulted in a massive outcry from his Sailor friends and One amused regular passenger even offered to buy him a season ticket. The Royal Navy however, already had a plan!
On Friday, 25th August 1939, Just Nuisance was enlisted into the Navy which and officially make him an ‘Abel Seaman’ – paperwork was signed by his paw. He was then entitled by navy law to all the same benefits as the sailors, including free train travel. He fulfilled a number of roles ashore although he never went to sea. He continued to accompany sailors on train journeys and escorted them back to base when the pubs closed. Just Nuisance became the mascot for the Royal Navy during WWII and became an inspiration to many.
He appeared at many promotional events, including his own 'wedding' to another Great Dane, Adinda. Adinda produced five pups as a result, two of which, named Victor and Wilhelmina, were auctioned off in Cape Town to raise funds for the war effort.
Nuisance's service record was not exemplary. Besides travelling on trains without his free pass, being absent without leave, losing his collar and refusing to leave the pub at closing time, his record also showed that he was sentenced to having all bones removed for seven days for sleeping in an improper place — to wit, the bed of one of the Petty Officers. He also fought with the mascots of ships that put in at Simon's Town, resulting in the deaths of at least two of them.
Sadly, Just Nuisance was at some point involved in a car accident. This caused thrombosis which gradually paralysed him and on 1 January 1944 he was discharged from the Navy. His condition continued to deteriorate and on 1 April 1944 he was taken to Simon's Town Naval Hospital where, on the advice of the naval veterinary surgeon, he was euthanised.
The next day his body was taken to Klaver Camp, where it was draped with a Royal Naval White Ensign and buried with full naval honours, including a gun salute and the playing of the Last Post.
He was a huge part of many of the sailor’s lives and is memory will always live on. Visit his statue and learn more about his story, read up on his minor misdeeds as a “seaman” and if you are visiting Simon’s Town on the 1 st April, celebrate with the locals as they parade their Great Danes through the town in his honour.
No Admission Fee
Best during daylight hours
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